Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A man without armor...

I've been watching the 4th season of Have Gun-Will Travel (this show is absolutely, without a doubt or even a close challenger, my favorite Western television series ever, and Paladin my favorite Western TV hero). To my delight, they just had what we would probably call today a crossover episode -- the writers combined HG-WT with Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days! Paladin helped Phileas Fogg et al get to Reno from San Francisco.

When I was young, I must have read my copy of Around the World in 80 Days a hundred times and then some. I absolutely loved the book. It's actually the only Jules Verne book I truly love. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Journey to the Center of the Earth made great movies, but I don't particularly enjoy either book. Around the World, however, is a fabulous book, and I have yet to see a movie version I like.

The thought of Paladin and Fogg together makes me rub my hands with glee... unfortunately, the concept was far better than it played out, and it was a very disappointing episode (the only disappointing ep of the season so far). Fogg was made out to be a bit of an idiot, which is not at all how he is in the book. Paladin and idiots never mix well, because he does not suffer fools. Now if Fogg had been more true to his book character, the two of them butting heads would have been most enjoyable. Instead, we get Paladin saving Fogg's hide when it shouldn't have needed saving to begin with. Weak story. An odd side plot about some Colonel (who was in civilian clothes) challenging Fogg to a duel was the main conflict in preventing him from keeping to his rigid schedule, and it never worked right. It was played for laughs, without being particularly funny. I think the ep was aiming for a stiff upper lip British stereotype humorously clashing with Old West pragmatism/violence, instead of a real story. Too bad, because this could have been a great episode.

Makes me want to re-write it, naturally, into the episode I wanted to see.


  1. Anyone who reads comic books should know that any guest star in the title hero's book should come off as cooler than the book's "host"! That way the guest is worthy of a team-up with someone like Paladin. The Cartwrights of Bonanza--also mentioned in that list of upcoming DVDs--"cooled out" many a historical figure in their first season, including Mark Twain.

  2. Yes, exactly! :-D